Steam Earn Split On Opening Weekend

Steam rookie Ty Banser skates in his first KIJHL Game September 7, 2018. Photo: Tami Quan Photography




As the 2018/19 KIJHL Season got underway this past weekend, the Summerland Steam came in with arguably the youngest team they’ve ever had. With nine returning players from last season, only one of them a 20-year old (team captain, Everett Scherger), Head Coach John Depourcq was excited to get started with a young, teachable group. He and General Manager Mike Rigby did add some veteran leadership during the off-season, acquiring Linden Gove and Dawson Jenner from Princeton, as well as re-acquiring goaltender Jared Breitkreuz from the Chase Heat. All three are Summerland locals, returning to their hometown team to play their 20-year old seasons in the KIJHL.

The Steam were met straight away with a stiff test, an out of conference opponent in the Columbia Valley Rockies that they hadn’t seen in nearly 4 full years. It resulted in a 5-2 loss in Summerland’s home opener on Friday night, and there were both things to like as well as teachable moments. For the majority of the hockey game it was a tight checking, close affair that saw Summerland hold 1-0 and 2-1 leads before the Rockies took over late in the game.

Three third period goals, including two in an :11 second time span by the Rockies were the undoing of the Summerland Steam. and it proved there’s work to be done in the conditioning, said Head Coach John Depourcq.

“Once we get into shape, we’ll be just fine,” Said the coach of the Summerland Steam, now in his sixth season, “I think we’ve got the makings of a great young hockey team here and it’s just a matter of learning systems and finding the level of conditioning that it takes to play junior hockey. This is a big step for a lot of these younger kids coming from midget programs all over Western Canada, and it will take them a couple of weeks to get themselves right and into shape.”

Summerland struggled on Friday night on special teams, going 1-for-4 on their power play, while allowing three Columbia Valley power play goals in six opportunities. These numbers are byproducts of young players learning a new system, and only having a couple of days to do so.

The Steam got goals from Linden Gove and Cody Swan, but surrendered five in total in the loss. Gavin Fleck, Jesse Carr, Chase Hawkins, Zachary Giacobbo, and Ryan Skytt replied for the visiting Rockies, while Ben Kelsch picked up the victory in goal.

Another part of ‘learning the ropes’ in the KIJHl is having a short memory, and Summerland had to have short memories with another game the following night. Just 24 hours later Summerland was on the ice in the Shuswap to play the division rival Princeton Posse, who took an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday night in their opener.

The Steam looked better Saturday night, skating to a 4-0 victory against the rival Posse. Cairo Rogers notched his first of the season just 3:02 into the first period to get the scoring started, and it would turn out to be all Steam goaltender Jared Breitkreuz would need. Breitkreuz, a 20-year old Summerland local, stopped all 32 shots the Posse sent his way en route to the victory and his first shutout of the season.

Linden Gove would add a powerplay goal in the second period, and Ty Banser notched his first KIJHL goal to send the Steam to a 3-0 lead after two periods. Cory Loring would add his first of the season on a power play late in the third to round out the scoring and seal the 4-0 victory.

“We played the way we needed to play to win on small ice,” said Steam Head Coach John Depourcq post game, “I’m happy with the way our young guys are performing out there, I thought Ty Banser had an exceptional hockey game tonight and a good weekend overall, and I think we’re trending in the right direction once we get a few practices in to work on systems and conditioning. We’re in a good place right now.”

The Steam will get a good week of practices in this week before their next game, which takes place Friday night at the Summerland Arena. The Golden Rockets make a rare visit to the Summerland Arena, with puck drop taking place at 7:30 PM. Tickets are just $10 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, and family packs (2 adults, up to 4 kids under 10) are just $25!

Written by Tim Hogg, Director of Broadcasting & Public Relations for the Summerland Steam Junior B Hockey Club.

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